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Thread: What is the difference between a roll and a biscuit?

  1. #1

    What is the difference between a roll and a biscuit?

    I have seen a few posts where biscuits were being served along with the meal. For me biscuits sound like cookies (probably because we call cookies biscuits in French).

    I've heard of rolls served with a meal. What would a biscuit be like? Would it be similar to a roll?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Not sure if this sounds right but I would try to explain it as rolls are very bread like. Small little bites of bread served with a meal. Biscuits are more flaky. We have strawberry shortcake over a biscuit or if we are having fried chicken (which we have probably once ever 5 years) than I may make biscuits.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Biscuits are usually raised by baking powder and contain more fat. Rolls are yeast-raised and have much less fat. In America, biscuits are not like cookies. In the south, we may have biscuits at any meal, but in most of the U.S., they are served at breakfast. I can make great rolls, lousy biscuits!

  4. #4
    Thanks for the info. I was really curious about it.

    I had found this recipe for rolls that sounds so delicious and was wondering if maybe they are biscuits.


    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Buttery Parker House Rolls

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 12 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories : Breads

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    2 tablespoons yeast
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/4 cup warm water
    1 1/4 cups warm buttermilk
    1/4 cup unsalted softened butter - cut into small chunks
    1/4 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons salt
    5 cups all purpose or bread flour -- (5 to 6)
    1/2 cup unsalted butter - melted

    In a large bowl, sprinkle sugar and yeast over warm water and stir briefly. Let stand, allowing yeast to swell a couple of minutes. Stir in buttermilk, butter, sugar, salt and most of flour. Knead to make a soft dough, adding more flour as required. Knead about 8 minutes until smooth and elastic.

    Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk or refrigerate overnight (if refrigerating, allow dough to warm to room temperature before proceeding).

    Divide dough into 12 portions. Cut each into three chunks and dip in melted butter. For more traditional looking rolls, form the chunks into small balls. Place the three balls or chunks into each well of a 12 cup muffin pan. Drizzle any leftover melted butter over rolls. Cover lightly with plastic (slipping the entire baking sheet into a large, clean garbage bag works well) and allow to rise until doubled in bulk.

    Preheat oven to 375 F. and bake for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F. and bake until lightly browned (another 15-20 minutes).

    Add one 1 tablespoon finely crushed garlic and 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley to melted butter. Proceed as above.

    "A silky, soft dough that bakes up into melt-in-your-mouth baby breads that are the perfect size to sop up turkey gravy. Bake these in a mini loaf or muffin pan.They bake up into a tender roll which is reminiscent of a French croissant in taste but with
    the velvety crumb of a traditional white bread roll. Saco Buttermilk Blend works well here."
    "© This is a Marcy Goldman/ original recipe"

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 341 Calories; 13g Fat (33.7% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 48g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 32mg Cholesterol; 386mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

    Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 228 1553 0 0 2339 1553

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Originally posted by newcook
    Thanks for the info. I was really curious about it.

    I had found this recipe for rolls that sounds so delicious and was wondering if maybe they are biscuits.

    The yeast is a dead giveaway that they are rolls. Rolls are little yeast breads. Biscuits are, as someone else said, baking powder risen. Good biscuits are flaky, like croissants.
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

  6. #6
    To help show the difference between a roll and a biscuit, here is a recipe for a biscuit. I don't use a biscuit pan, I just shape them and bake them on a cookie sheet.

    Cheddar-Bacon Biscuits

    What are the secrets to making tender, flaky biscuits? When cutting the butter into the flour, work quickly so it doesnít melt too much before you put the biscuits in the oven. And when adding the milk, donít overmix the dough; stir until the ingredients are just combined.

    3 cups all-purpose flour
    4 tsp. baking powder
    3/4 tsp. salt
    8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
    1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
    1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
    6 bacon slices, finely chopped and fried
    until crisp
    1 1/2 cups milk

    Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400ļF. Lightly spray a biscuit pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until it resembles coarse meal. Add the cheese, chives and bacon; using a fork, stir until evenly distributed. Add the milk; using a rubber spatula, stir until just combined. Divide the dough among the wells of the prepared pan.

    Bake until the biscuits are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a biscuit comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 7 biscuits.

    Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.


  7. #7
    Hey Daniele,

    Do you have Popeye's Fried Chicken up there? Biscuits are so different from roll's!! When my sister married she practiced making biscuits every day until she could do it was well as her Tennessee mother in law. There is an art to it. My sister's secret is self rising flour. Louisiana is not really part of the Deep South, we are something of an enigma but Popeyes Fried Chicken makes biscuits to die for. Hopefully someone from the true south will pick up on this thread to give you a real definition!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Emptyspool, I'm a Popeye's biscuit lover as well! One hint for making good biscuits is the flour. People I know insist on White Lily for biscuits. I can't make a good biscuit no matter what, but it's just as well. They are not exactly cooking light!

  9. #9

    Have you ever tried a scone? In some ways, biscuits are like scones. They are heavy but fluffy at the same time. Most biscuit recipes do not use yeast, but there are a few recipes that do. They're called "angel biscuits" because they are higher and fluffier than usual biscuits.

    Parker House Rolls are not like biscuits at all. They are very delicate and buttery. They are extremely yummy, though.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    North of the ocean, South of the Freeway, Mississippi Gulf Coast
    I LOVE biscuits!!!

    I've never made scones before, since dad likes his biscuits one of two ways: Small and crunchy, or big and fluffy. They don't usually have anything in them but butter (or margarine), flour, baking powder, salt and milk (or buttermilk). Sometimes people get clever and put cheese in them, or herbs, but usually not anything chunky or truly spicy. As far as I can tell, once you do that, you're making scones. I've read lots of recipes, and as far as I can tell, scones are typically sweeter and richer than a biscuit, though in other ways they're practically identical.

    If you take a scone dough, leave out the extras, including sugar, you'll wind up with biscuits.

    Biscuits in my experience are always individual rounds, while scones are sometimes formed by shaping the entire piece of dough in a round, and cutting it in wedges.

    You should see how scornful dad is when I take the lazy/heretical route and simply slice the biscuit dough into squares. ("Square Biscuits? That's unnatural!")

    I've seen (and tasted) some biscuit recipes that call for you to add an egg yolk that's been hard cooked, then sieved, but that's simply a variation.

    Angel Biscuits are divine, and an easy way to start working with yeast doughs, since you have the additional leavening from the baking powder to boost things along.

    Hope this helps!
    A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money.
    Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine,
    something Brussels sprouts never do.
    P. J. O'Rourke, humorist

  11. #11
    I think I will make one recipe of each type to see which I like better. I have been making the Betterbaking French Country bread every week since finding the recipe. I love love love it. So I will try her rolls and will also try the biscuit recipe. I suspect I will love them both. I love French croissants most of all but the butter content Yikes!

    I used to be able to get Pillsburry French croissants which were amazing but now they only seem to carry the large crescent rolls. I don't know if they are the same with only a name change, but I don't think so.


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